With the transfer window closing yesterday, it is finally safe to sit back and look over the months of transfer news and speculation to see who had the best and worst windows. For evaluation purposes, we used a few metrics to decide winners and losers. These categories were: the state of the squad, immediate impact, long term impact, and, finally, relative financial impact. Through these, we were able to determine the overall impact and success of each team’s transfer window. First up…
Transfer Window Winners
1) Manchester United
In terms of immediate impact, there is no other team whose transfers compare to Manchester United. For many fans, this is truly all that matters. So far, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have won games for United that might not have come if they were not on the pitch. While Ibra may not be a long term signing, Pogba potentially is. Financially, while Ibra may be on big wages, he came to Manchester United on a free. Pogba, on the other hand, may have set a new record for transfer spend (and may have been overpriced), but was mostly paid for by Adidas. Overall, a great window for Manchester United, who really needed one.
If we want to talk about immediate impact, it is hard to look past what Alvaro Negredo has done for Middlesbrough. Negredo has been on fire for Middlesbrough, having a hand in each of their three goals so far. What is probably the most impressive aspect of their transfer window, however, is the shrewdness of it. Early on, Middlesbrough identitied targets that had specific skills that they felt were needed to elevate their squad and they signed them early and for a fraction of the price. This exceptional bit of strategy is a refreshing take on the transfer window. It’s not too often that you see a promoted team close up shop on Deadline Day, content with their work throughout the summer.
Another team that planned out their window very well is Liverpool. Early on, they identified three positions that needed strengthening in the transfer window. These positions were goalkeeper, centerback, and attacking winger. By the Euros, Liverpool had successfully nabbed all three positions by picking up Loris Karius for £4.7m in goal, Joel Matip at centerback on a free transfer, and Sadio Mane on the wing for £34m. Unfortunately for Liverpool, preseason injuries kept the first two from contributing as much as they would have liked, but Mane has been a revelation in the Liverpool squad. With all three players being under 25 years old, they will only improve under the tutelage of Jurgen Klopp. We also need to give them points for shipping out enough of the “deadwood” players to bring their net spend into the positive region. The only thing we deducted points for them was that their issue at left back wasn’t addressed, though Klopp would firmly disagree.
As with any competitive sport, there can’t only be winners. Some have to have a bad transfer window. Some have to be the Transfer Window Losers:
Transfer Window Losers
1) Hull City
Hull City may have had a great start to the season, but they are playing a dangerous game. Ultimately, they signed fewer players than they got rid of. For a squad that was already light, this is disastrous. Hull simply haven’t signed enough players. They are still at the point of needing youth players to fill in so that they have enough to cover their subs bench. We may see them continue to surprise people early on, but unless they make some serious signings in January, there is a good chance they will run out of steam before that window is over.
This may be a controversial pick, but their moves on Deadline Day forced my hand. We gave points to Middlesbrough and Liverpool for going into this window with a solid plan and enacting it early. You just cannot say the same about Spurs. They have a great squad, but, with Champions League, had the chance to sign some top, top quality talent. Instead, they chose to sign players who will give them some depth. While Janssen and Wanyama are solid players that can really add something to the squad, they aren’t better than anyone in the current squad. This was Spurs’ chance to add some world class talent and they balked at the chance. Instead, they spent £30m on Moussa Sissoko on the Deadline Day. This is the definition of a panic buy. I’m also not convinced of their sales, with Nacer Chadli having been their second highest goalscorer last season. Surely, he could have added whatever Sissoko added to that squad? Instead, we have a player who could come in and disrupt a system, is famous for being quite lazy being on a relegated Newcastle team and earned this move due to having a great Euro. That places them firmly in the losers bracket for this summer.
In terms of this transfer window, we can argue that Everton made three good signings. So far, Maarten Stekelenburg, Idrissa Gueye and Ashley Williams have improved their starting XI. The rest of their signings, however, have been poor. Spending £25m on Yannick Bolasie is a bit of a mistake and West Ham were happy to get rid of Enner Valencia albeit it’s a loan with the option to buy. The most damning part of their window, however, was the shear number of players that they chased, only to lose out. With their new owners, it was made clear that money was not an issue. No matter what they did, they were continually embarrassed by narrowly missing out on top targets. This might have worked out in their favor on Deadline Day, with many of their fans thankful that they didn’t end up signing Moussa Sissoko. Still, it must be worrying for Ronald Koeman and the staff at Everton that they can’t even throw money at players to convince them to join the club.